Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast – Well doesn’t that sound appetizing! But this is what a SCOBY actually is and it is how you make Kombucha!
Kombucha has been around for thousands of years and dates back to China in 221 BC where it was known as “The Tea of Immortality” and it has been used around the world ever since. I won’t get into the history of it but I have put some great websites at the bottom where you can learn so much more!
Personally I had never heard of Kombucha until almost 1 year ago when my mum told me she had gone to a farmers market and fallen in love with this new drink that is supposed to have a TON of health benefits (one of them being helps with weight loss which I think sold it for her). She had bought 12 750ml bottles for $15 each!
I immediately started researching this mystery beverage and discovered that not only are there a whole wack ton of health benefits but you can brew your own! So this is what I decided I would do – clearly the logical decision opposed to just buying it…
I researched different sites and found a great role model/blogger Taylor (from tayloredfitness.co) and her post on how to brew your own. There are a ton of other blogs about this too but I just really enjoyed hers. She purchased her first SCOBY from KombuchaKamp and as they would ship to Canada I decided I would order one too. I purchased the big started book as well and while it was informative I don’t think it is necessary as there is so much information on the Internet as is but my SCOBY and starter tea did arrive in great time.
Before I get into brewing your own, I will go over what a SCOBY is and just a few of the health benefits that Kombucha is known to promote:
So What Is A SCOBY?
Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast – the cultures produce a structure known as a “mushroom” and this is what ferments the ingredients to produce the magical drink known as Kombucha.
Benefits Of Drinking Kombucha:
- Full of probiotics and good bacteria
- Increases energy
- Assists weight loss
- Gastrointestinal support and improved digestion
- Boosts immune system
- Reduces stress
- Detoxifies the liver
- High in antioxidants
- Lowers glucose levels
- Eases joint pain
- It is delicious and can be flavoured in so many ways!
And the list goes on! I do urge you to do some research of your own. I am positive you will then go out and buy a bottle or decide to brew your own too.
Brewing Your Own
So it is actually SUPER easy! I did order my SCOBY from KombuchaKamp but honestly, if you buy a bottle and see a little squiggly thing floating in it and are patient enough you can just grow your own from scratch as they just multiply and multiply and multiply! (Or I can give you one…see the bottom of the blog for that info!)
You will need:
- 1 gallon tempered glass jar (wide lid is best)
- 1 SCOBY (with starter liquid)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 4 tea bags
- Cloth to cover the opening of the jar and an elastic to keep in in place
- A small funnel for bottling after fermentation
- Brew your tea! I have experimented with all combinations of green tea, black tea, rooibos tea and recently made a batch with jasmine green tea and it was delicious. Each blend will produce a slightly different flavour and colour so experiment! Just make sure to not use any flavoured teas that have natural oils in them as they can harm your SCOBY (and we don’t want that!).
- Remove tea bags and dissolve the sugar into your well steeped tea. You must use regular white sugar. Do not use sugar substitutes, brown sugar, etc. Just plain old white sugar. The SCOBY actually feeds on the sugar and uses it to ferment the tea to make the Kombucha. Don’t worry, the final product is very low in sugar content as the SCOBY eats up most of it!
- Pour your tea/sugar into your glass jar and fill with room temperature water until about 2-3 inches from the top. A lot of sites say to use filtered water but I just use it from the tap and so far so good. Also please make sure your glass jar is made with tempered glass! Otherwise your hot tea might result in a very messy situation. Yes speaking from experience. Not fun. Hot tea absolutely everywhere.
- Plop that SCOBY on top and pour the starter liquid on top. If you order your SCOBY it should come with liquid in the pouch. DO NOT throw this out! This is your starter liquid that you pour on top! For your following batches simply use a few ladles full of tea from your last batch as the starter liquid. Don’t worry if your SCOBY sinks to the bottom, it will probably float back to the top. Regardless it will do what it needs to do.
- Cover with your cloth and secure in place. I just cut a big square from an old t-shirt that I used to wear to bed. Clean though…I washed the shirt first…
Now put your jar in a dark, dry place (I use the back of my cupboard) and let it do its thang! You can ferment from 2-4 weeks and the longer you let it ferment the less sugar will be in the final product. At first I was fermenting for 2 weeks but then I was just producing more Kombucha than I could drink or give away or sell (as I did try to start a little business) so I upped it to 3 weeks and it still tastes perfect.
Bottling and Flavouring:
After you have let it ferment you are ready to bottle. I recommend saving up some bottles (screw top wine bottles work great or if you or anyone else drinks from screw top bottles get em’ to save them for you!).
With clean hands remove your SCOBY and place it in a glass bowl and ladle a few spoonfulls of your freshly brewed Kombucha on top. This will be your starter liquid for batch #2.
You can now flavour your Kombucha with all of things! Personally I love fresh ginger, freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice as well as cinnamon. I’ve also used muddled berries, pineapple juice, fresh watermelon etc. Experiment! Google recipes! Try different herbs, fruits, etc. This is the fun part! Certain ingredients will increase the carbonation as well.
Once you put your flavourings into your bottles you just pour that Kombucha right in. I recommend getting a small funnel that will make it easier so you don’t waste your precious drink.
You can also now start your second fermentation which can help increase the carbonation if you want it more bubbly (depending on the bubble level of the batch). This just means that once you have it bottled, put it back in that dark cupboard for another 3-5 days before putting it in the fridge. This is not necessary though as your Kombucha is ready to drink right away.
I also found that I really just love it plain without other flavours as different tea combinations produce different flavoured Kombucha!
Start from step 1 and do it all again! You will find that your SCOBY will just start multiplying. This is normal. You can pull it apart after a few batches and then have 2 SCOBYs and brew 2 batches at once. And in a few batches you will have 3 then 4 then 5…it honestly never ends!
What I did was start a “SCOBY Hotel” (legit what it is called – Google it lol) where I put all my extra SCOBY’s with some Kombucha liquid and just store in my cupboard in case I ever need a fresh one, if I ruin one with a bad tea batch, if one goes bad, etc.
OR to give to friends! Now then none of mine want to brew their own…but if YOU do and live in the GTA send me a message! I would be THRILLED to give you one! (not kidding)
I hope that you found this interesting – it ended up being much longer than I anticipated! I hope that even if you don’t start brewing your own you at least look into drinking the stuff because it is so good for you! I have a ton of gut health issues and Kombucha is so full of good probiotics that I feel as if I couldn’t live without it now. I start my morning with some and drink it throughout the day too.
If you have any questions about Kombucha or brewing or I wasn’t clear please write a reply! Or if you just found this helpful, informative, etc. I would love to hear 🙂
For more information:
Taylored Fitness: https://tayloredfitness.co/tayloredfitness/recipes/how-to-make-kombucha-tea/